Monday, May 05, 2014
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Verlander Takes No-Hitter Into 6th, Tigers Stop Royals

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[May 05, 2014]  KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Right-hander Justin Verlander did not get his third career no-hitter, but the Detroit Tigers got their fifth straight victory.

Verlander flirted with a no-hitter and right-fielder Torii Hunter stroked three hits and drove in three runs as the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 9-4 on Sunday to sweep the series.

The Tigers have won seven of eight and lead the American League Central by 4 1/2 games.

"Anytime you have a sweep it's disheartening," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were unfortunate to catch them really, really hot. Next time maybe we'll be hot.

"Verlander pitched like Verlander. He was changing speeds, had a good fastball when he needed it, took a no-hitter into the sixth."

Verlander did not allow a hit until Billy Butler's two-out single in the sixth. Verlander (4-1) left after seven innings, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks.

"I'm glad I'm managing him and not against him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Verlander. "There was not much not to like about this game."
 


Ausmus said it "did cross his mind" that Verlander had a no-hitter going.

The Royals, who lost all five games against the Tigers this year, scored three runs off Verlander in the seventh. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson had a two-run triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.

"I think in the sixth inning I saw this guy had no hits," Hunter said. "We tried to get every ball that was hit out there. He pitched a great game, had those guys off balance. That slider today was really working. Usually these guys hit him pretty well, but today no."

Hunter extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is hitting .408 in that span.

Verlander is 4-0 in his past five starts.

"As a starting pitcher you always love to see your guys go out there and put up a bunch of runs," Verlander said. "It makes my job and other guys jobs a lot easier. This is the way we're expecting to play baseball. We can do a lot of little things and we can also bang."

The Royals lost for the first time in 15 games this season when they scored at least four runs.

Catcher Alex Avila homered with center fielder Austin Jackson aboard in the fifth to push the Tigers' lead to 7-0.

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After Royals left-hander Jason Vargas retired the first two batters in the fourth, the Tigers bashed four consecutive hits for three runs to hike their lead to 5-0. First baseman Miguel Cabrera's two-run double was the big blow of the inning. Second baseman Ian Kinsler's infield single scored shortstop Andrew Romine with the first run of the inning.

Right fielder Torii Hunter's two-out run-producing single in the third scored center fielder Rajai Davis, who led off the inning with a double. Hunter extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos homered to left in the second inning for the first Tigers run. He leads Detroit with 18 RBIs.

Vargas was pulled after five innings, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits, including two home runs.

"There's nothing you can change about it," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said of being swept at home. "We got beat in every aspect of the game. Now we'll go to San Diego and start a new series, and bounce back. The best part is that it's still so early (in the season). Obviously, division games you don't want to take a sweep."

NOTES: The Royals activated LHP Tim Collins, who had been on the disabled list with a left flexor strain, and optioned RHP Aaron Brooks to Triple-A Omaha. ... Tigers LHP Phil Coke's ERA has soared to 9.39 after allowing two runs on three hits in the ninth inning Saturday. Opponents are hitting .382 off Coke in eight relief appearances. ... Tigers RHP Joba Chamberlain struck out 11 in 9 1/3 innings in his past 11 outings.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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